16 April 2015

My Grandfather Owned that Farm

Land records can contain a variety of information.

This affidavit from 1942 discusses three generations of land ownership in the Rampley family of Walker Township, Hancock County, Illinois. 

It was located using the tract index to land records that the Hancock County Recorder's Office has--that index locates records geographically based up on the quartersection in which the property being referenced is located.

That's how this item was found. 

But there are a few lessons with this document.

Records may be created or recorded decades after the person of interest died.  James Rampley (the grandfather) is the ancestor in this case. James the affiant and grandson of James the ancestor is a an actual cousin of mine. This document was recorded nearly sixty years after James the grandfather died and could have easily been overlooked if I had only used records created during James the ancestor's lifetime. Genealogists don't always think to research land records quite this far after someone dies.

Items recorded with land records may not be actual "deeds." This affidavit was created to assist in clearly up some title issues to the property referenced in the deed. Like many records, it doesn't precisely state what precipitated its creation. That was determined by looking at other records and creating a time line--and by using a little logic and reasoning.